“It was Friday 7th December 2012, the morning of my week off work.
I received a call at 7.30am from my friend Nat, who was really worried about her 3-year-old son Jayden. She said he was sick during the night and had a type of rash and she wasn't sure if it was chicken pox.
“I am a nurse, so Nat asked me to go round to look at him. I immediately drove round. Nat lived just a few streets away so I was there by 7.40am. When I arrived, Jayden was lying in his bedroom in his pyjamas. I saw the rash was a reddy-purple colour and looked like small bruises.
“This was nothing like the pictures I had seen during my nurse training. I pressed on the rash and it did not blanch. I thought this could be meningitis, but did not want to believe it. It was awful to see Jayden this way! I loved him like my own. The bedroom light was on which did not seem to bother Jayden's eyes and he did not seem in any pain. His hands and feet were a bit cold. I made the decision to drive them to hospital.
Limp but alert
“While Nat got dressed, I carried him downstairs, he was limp but alert. I told him he was going for a ride in Auntie Shaz's car and he looked at me and nodded his head with a slight groan. Nat sat in the back holding Jayden as we made the journey to the hospital, which is about a 25 minute drive away. Nat was talking away to Jayden during the journey.
“I said to her that I would drop her off at the A & E entrance and I would go and park the car. As we reached half way to the hospital, Nat said Jayden seemed worse, and had became unresponsive. Panic set in and I rang for an ambulance. We were sitting in traffic approaching a roundabout at this point and as soon as I could, I pulled over into the petrol station.
“We were instructed over the phone to lay Jayden flat on the back seat. He was still breathing at this point and had a pulse, but the rash had spread over his body. I was preparing myself to resuscitate him if needed. Nat and I were still talking to him while he was laying there and Jayden was making a groaning sound.
“The paramedics arrived within a couple of minutes. They put an oxygen mask on him and a cannula into his tiny arm and said they were treating him for meningitis. Nat and I were distraught but relieved that he was getting the care he needed. The paramedics got him into the ambulance and rushed him to A and E. Nat rang her family to come straight to the hospital.
“Jayden looked lifeless. He was wired up to machines, and loads of doctors and nurses surrounded his bed. The nurse told us all that Jayden had meningococcal septicaemia, that he was extremely poorly and may not survive. We were all hysterical.
Say our goodbyes
“We were asked if we wanted to go to see Jayden to say our goodbyes. This made me feel sick. I reluctantly walked along the resus corridor with Nat’s mum, and saw the doctors trying to resuscitate Jayden. Nat and Jayden’s dad were standing watching, it was so heart-breaking. I heard their screams. Jayden sadly passed away at 10am; he couldn't fight it. Within a few hours Jayden deteriorated so quickly, it was unbelievable.
“Nat set up a Remembrance Fund for Jayden. We organised fundraising events which helped us to do something positive. Meningitis Now has supported us all so much and helped us with our fundraising events and knowing that someone is available to talk on the phone has been a real support. Jayden was a gorgeous little boy who should never have died at such a young age. The vaccine needs to be available and free to all children now as it can save so many children's lives!”